It’s a small outdoor venue unlike any other: a grassy lawn, sloping down to a modestly-sized stage and bandshell, with an elephant yard on one side and a red ape reserve on the other. For the past 35 years, musicians and fans alike have flocked to the Oregon Zoo each summer to revel in music, sunshine and friends — including those of the feathered and furry varieties.
The 2013 Oregon Zoo Summer Concert Series (June 22 – Sept. 6) boasts a roster of artists as diverse as the park’s residents, which range from African bullfrogs to Visayan warty pigs. Folk singer/songwriter John Prine takes the stage on opening night; maybe he’ll perform “Crazy as a Loon,” a favorite of the birds in the nearby aviary. Ziggy Marley brings his Jamaican reggae to town on June 30 — his song “Black Cat” might elicit a roar from the zoo’s resident big cats. Other musical acts on the schedule include Weird Al Yankovic, the Indigo Girls, Randy Newman, the B-52s, Los Lobos and the Doobie Brothers. Alas, no Snoop Dog, er, Lion.
Shows start at 7 p.m., with access to the concert area at 5 p.m. Concert tickets also grant zoo access for the full day, so plan to visit the animals before the show. And whether you bring a picnic (no outside beverages) or enjoy the zoo’s selection of local food, beer and wine, be sure to fill up — after all, you wouldn’t want your stomach growling louder than the Amur tigers (or the bands).